Eric Palumbo describes himself as someone who “goes deep into whatever he does,” a personality feature that led him to take on different jobs during his life.
He started as a professionally trained violist, picking up the skill at the age of 5. After that, he made his way up in the finance world.
But then “the mountains called,” so Palumbo moved to Telluride where he worked at the local ski shops and enjoyed hitting the slopes.
A few years later, Palumbo learned about coffee making which started by buying “a little home roaster,” which soon he discovered was his “calling” in life.
He said he found that the task was an art, and not “just a hot brown drink.” On top of that, Palumbo said he could use his finance background to better promote his coffee business.
That’s been the case for the last few years since Palumbo opened Cimarron Coffee Roasters in Ridgway before establishing one here in Montrose at 72 S. Grand Ave.
As a self-taught coffee creator, and after some trial and error, Palumbo has produced drinks that have earned national recognition. Most recently, his coffee won four bronze medals at the Golden Bean Coffee Awards last month in Nashville, Tennessee.
“To get that kind of recognition is pretty cool for us,” Palumbo said, adding he was honored to be awarded next to the likes of well-known coffee companies.
“Having people recognize that we are on that level is stellar for us.”
The Golden Bean is the world's largest coffee roasters competition and conference. This competition seeks to find North America's best coffee roasting business with drinks being judged as espresso, milk and filter beverages with medals given in 11 different categories, according to Golden Bean website.
Those same judges also come from all over North America, Palumbo added.
This isn’t the first time this year Cimarron has garnered national praise. Recently, Palumbo’s shop was named as an honorable mention for the best coffee shop in Colorado by Food and Wine Magazine.
“It helps us grow our online business. People look at that kind of stuff,” he said.
City of Montrose’s executive director of business innovation Chelsea Rosty said the community is lucky to have “an uncovered gem” in Cimarron Coffee Roasters. What sets Palumbo’s shop apart from most is that each of its coffee has unique tastes in each cup, she added.
“It’s kind of like going to a wine cellar and being able to enjoy the different flavors,” Rosty said. “... They’re (Cimarron) getting so much attention because they take their time to draw out the taste in the coffee.”
Palumbo said he believes his shop isn’t on the “cutting edge, but the front edge.” The company has shown that there’s value in specialty coffee, he added.
Cimarron is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m, Monday through Saturday. To check out the shop’s website, visit cimarronroasters.com.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ sports/business writer. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.